Index Card a Day 2014

Last year I participated in the last half of Index Card a Day (ICAD) while I was in the thick of my daily pattern project. I decided to combine the challenges for the month of July, and I had a lot of fun making patterns with markers on simple index cards. ICAD is hosted by Tammy from Daisy Yellow and runs every year in June and July, and this year I decided to join in for the whole run.

It’s already been a little over a month, and I thought it would be fun to share the cards I made in June.

All ICADs made in June

Part of what made ICAD such an attractive challenge to join last year was that I really needed something low-key after a super busy June. I kept it simple and only used a set of Zig Writer markers for all the cards. Since I wasn’t strictly focusing on patterns this year, I took a fresh approach to the challenge: “anything goes”. So far I’ve used acrylic paint, gouache, watercolor, sharpie pens, prismacolor fine liners, acrylic paint markers, ball point pens and pencils. I’ve explored a variety of styles, techniques and subject matter. There has been plenty of experimentation leading to several creative and exciting “aha! moments”.

There is still a little less than a month of the challenge left. If you are interested in making some index card art, you can join any time. Find more information on the ICAD section of Tammy’s blog or check out the #icad2014 tag on instagram or twitter!

Line and Shape Doodles

Here are a few recent line and shape doodles that I’ve sketched. I started by doodling mostly lines with a black sharpie pen.

Line Doodle with black pen

I continued in a similar style with a couple colored pencils, while incorporating more shapes as well as line.

Line Doodle with colored pencil

Next I did a more intricate version of the line and shape doodle using fine line Zig Writer markers.

Line Doodle with Fine Line Markers

After taking a break from creating and sharing on social media for the last couple months, it was very satisfying to draw these. Plus, they really feel like “me,” and I already have a few new ideas from the process of creating them.

We Are The Contributors

We Are The Contributors is a cool new creative community that hosts collaborative projects. Some of their goals are to create and showcase art projects inspired by a theme while growing their creative community. I love that the work created can be ANYTHING–visual art, music, poetry, an essay–you name it! I also love the fact that they are focused on including people from different backgrounds and communities across the internet.

I first heard about WATC through Jaime Derringer who participated in their first project with the theme “The Armory Show”. I was really impressed by the work that was created in Project #1 so when I saw the invitation to sign up if you wanted to be considered for future projects, I jumped at the chance! Happily I got an email inviting me to create something for Project #2: Beginnings.

Almost immediately I knew I would work with painting for my submission, as it would reflect the beginning of my effort to paint more this year. By the time I zeroed in on the specifics of what I would create, I realized it would be a whole series of paintings that would each individually represent a beginning of a painting, and as a group represent the beginning of my resolve to paint more in 2014.

Submission for the We Are The Contributors Project #2: Beginnings

I wrote up a description of my thought process about creating the series of paintings that you can read over on the project page.

Now that I’ve had a chance to reflect on the works I created, I realize that these initial paintings are about jumping in, getting something down on the page, and building the momentum. I worked quickly on each piece. I didn’t over think it and I didn’t judge any of it as “good” or “bad”. I was immersed in the process, laying the groundwork to be able to move forward with energy and enthusiasm.

I’ve only shared 9 of the 32 works I created, and I’m looking forward to sharing many, if not all, of the other paintings in their beginning stages as well as along the way as I develop them further.

If you think you might be interested in participating in a future WATC project, don’t be shy! Find the link to sign up on the WATC home page or check out their blog for mini projects that they host via instagram and are open to anyone to participate.

By now the new year is well under way. What are you beginning, or what have you recently begun? Even if you started something a month or two ago, I’d love to know about any new territory you are exploring, what new art medium you’re giving a try, or if you’ve started a long term project for 2014.

Daisy Yellow Zine Giveaway Winner

And the winner is: Jana! Congratulations!

Thanks everyone for entering. I really appreciate the time you took to visit my blog and leave a comment. Whenever I do a giveaway, I always wish everyone could win!

If you didn’t win the zine and are still curious about it, I do suggest you consider purchasing a copy from Tammy’s Etsy shop. It is well worth $7.00 and would be a great way to start February off with a creative boost.

Gouache Paintings Made with Extra Paint

Gouache is one of my favorite mediums to use. I worked with it in October and November for my daily pattern project, and during the process, something new developed–a series of abstract paintings I dubbed “extra paintings” since they were made in addition to the day’s pattern.

If I had to pin point the source of this new discovery, it would probably be when I started to use pieces of sturdy paper as paint palettes.

paint palette

paint palette

I really enjoyed the “paintings” that would develop on these paper palettes after several sessions.

There were times when I mixed too much paint in the process of getting just the right color, and I would let it dry on the palette. A couple of times the paint globs actually cracked and started to flake off which I wasn’t crazy about, so I started to scoop off the extra paint and smear it around on an blank sketchbook page.

painting

I thought these pages might come in handy for making textured papers for collage, but just like with the paint palettes, after several painting sessions, the built up layers became more and more interesting.

painting

painting

Before I knew it, I had painted quite a collection of “extra paintings” and my eyes were opened to the new possibilities of a different kind of visual pattern and texture.

painting

I’ve been having so much fun with the paintings I’ve been making, I want to do more. This year I plan to do a lot more paintings and I can’t wait to get started!

Daisy Yellow Zine Giveaway

A few months ago Tammy Garcia, who blogs over at Daisy Yellow, contacted me about writing an article about my daily pattern project for the 10th issue of her zine. I was already a big fan of her blog and the challenges she hosts such as Index Card A Day and the Moments Challenge, so of course I jumped at the chance!

Cover of the Daisy Yellow Zine Issue 10

We’ve had a lot of fun going back and forth with each other while perfecting my article. Tammy just released the issue for sale last week, and you can win a copy here on my blog, or via my Instagram.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tammy, her blog is chock full of ideas and inspiration for creating art journal pages and mixed media art work. As I mentioned, she hosts a variety of art making challenges throughout the year, and moderates a really great Facebook group too. I recently joined DY community on Facebook, and I love seeing all the great art people post to the group. It’s all about encouraging and inspiring each other and being proud of the work you create.

Preview of the pattern a day article by Anika Starmer for the Daisy Yellow zine

In the article I wrote for the zine, I talk about why I started the challenge, how I came up with so many different ideas, changes I made to the challenge from month to month to help me stick with it, what I learned after more than a year of creating patterns everyday, and more!

My article is just one part of a zine that is, “Jam packed with ideas + inspiration.” You’ll also find art journal and photography prompts, Suggestions for altering a hard backed book for use as an art journal, a mini index card art project to try out, and even some blogging tips for creatives. Not to mention the fact that the layout and imagery throughout the pages is super lush and inspiring in its own right.

I’ll be very excited for whomever wins this zine, but if you just can’t wait, you can purchase your own copy right now over on Etsy.

How to Win:

If you want to try your luck, visit Tammy’s page that has all the info about Issue 10 and discover what you are most excited to read about–and your answer doesn’t even have to be my pattern article! :D Come back here to this giveaway post and leave a comment below telling me what part of the zine you can’t wait to read. Feel free to leave a comment on Tammy’s blog as well, but know that only comments left here will be counted toward the giveaway.

If you have already purchased the zine and you win either this or my Instagram giveaway, Tammy has graciously offered to refund the full price of the zine back to you!

I will randomly draw a name on January 31st 2014 which is next Friday (edit: I changed the date from February 1st because I was looking at the wrong calendar! The drawing will be Friday!). I’ll announce the winner here, and also send an email to the winner, so be sure to use an email address that you check frequently.

Increase your chances:

You can also enter on Instagram. Make sure you follow me there, and leave a comment on one of the giveaway photos. While you’re over there, check out Tammy’s colorful photos as well!

Preview of the Daisy Yellow zine issue 10

Good Luck!

Pattern a Day December 2014

I haven’t played with crayons in any serious way since I was a kid. One day I was hanging out over at my brother’s house and started doodling with my niece’s Crayolas.

Crayon Drawing

What fun! When I posted the above photo to instagram I got a great suggestion from Tammy (@gypsy999) who hosts the blog Daisy Yellow. She thought I might enjoy using Neocolor Wax Artist Crayons. Boy was she right!

Day 30 Pattern a Day December

I ordered a selection of Neocolor IIs which are the water soluble variety (they also make Neocolor Is which are not water soluble) and decided to use them for the first time when drawing patterns in December. I didn’t actually take advantage of their water soluble nature during this month, since I had so much fun simply drawing with them!

Day 31 Pattern a Day December

Working with neocolors was very freeing. The color is super saturated and goes on the page easily. I found that my marks could be really expressive and the color and texture was rich and consistent.

Day 27 Pattern a Day December

I also played around with scale, drawing some tiny shapes scattered over the page and also some that had larger elements to make a bold statement.

Day 24 Pattern a Day December

Day 12 Pattern a Day December

This was a great month of patterns in which I tried out a lot of new ideas and color combinations. After using these amazing crayons everyday for a month, I’m definitely hooked!

Pattern a Day November

In December I wrote a post about the show I was in at Light Grey Art Lab. I created a composition of glass bottles for their 6 Degrees show, and in the process I discovered a fun style where I painted gouache over pencil lines.

I was inspired to keep exploring the possibilities of this technique when I started my November patterns.

Day 29 Pattern a Day November

The main thing I learned this month is that pencil lines smear! I had to get the color on the paper quick, preferably only brushing over the pencil once, otherwise it might lift up. You can see what I mean in the image below. I painted the darkest teal shape first, and the color was a lot more opaque than I expected.

Day 3 Pattern a Day November

I had to carefully lift it off as much as I could, and the result is that some of the pencil lines were lifted off the page as well.

As the month went by I got better about being quick with the paint and had fun exploring a wide variety of subjects for the patterns.

Day 8 Pattern a Day November

Day 10 Pattern a Day November

Despite a few challenges, I came up with a nice variety of patterns, and by the end of the month it was a lot easier getting successful results.

Pattern a Day October

After creating patterns for over a year, it’s funny that I never realized that most of the patterns I created were on white backgrounds. I became aware of that fact before October, so I thought it would be the perfect challenge for me.

It really was a challenge, but wow, what a great one!

On the first few days I worked with looser brush strokes and tried out watercolor washes for the background.

Day 1 Pattern a Day October

Eventually my brushwork got more precise, and I decided to work with opaque gouache backgrounds, although I sometimes used several tones of the same color to create a textured surface.

Day 11 Pattern a Day October

Many of the patterns I created this month used abstract shapes, but I also included recognizable objects in a several patterns which was a lot of fun.

Day 18 Pattern a Day October

Day 25 Pattern a Day October

Even within the parameters of working on colorful backgrounds with refined brushwork, I was able to explore bold strokes of color that filled the page as well as delicate marks scattered over the surface.

Day 23 Pattern a Day October

Day 24 Pattern a Day October

I really hit my stride this month and created a number of patterns that I was very happy with. I still plan to experiment with different media in the future, but I’m sure that painting patterns will always be part of my repertoire. Also, now that I’ve gotten comfortable with working on colorful backgrounds, you’ll definitely see more of them from me in the future!

Pattern a Day September

I wasn’t 100% sure I would continue making patterns in September. I officially finished up a year of daily patterns at the end of August, and I thought it might be time for a change. However, I found I couldn’t stop!

I decided to loosen up the challenge a bit and let September be a month of “anything goes.” As a result, I made patterns with ink and a brush, marker, watercolor, worked within 2 different sketchbooks and even some loose papers. The result was a wide variety of styles of patterns.

Some patterns were structured repeating icons, like rows of houses or colorful shapes.

Day 4 Pattern a Day September

Day 9 Pattern a Day September

Some patterns were a scatter of repeating elements.

Day 23 Pattern a Day September

Other patterns were more like abstract compositions with an overall pattern-y feel.

Day 30 Pattern a Day September

Day 19 Pattern a Day September

After trying out such a variety of pattern styles and media, the whole challenge felt refreshed. I ended the month with lot of creative energy and new ideas. It’s pretty cool to know that even after a year of creating patterns daily, I still enjoy it so much that continuing has become a natural part of my life.